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Personal Profiles

I am a baseball playing, motorcycle riding ball of endless energy (most of the time) that loves people and animals. I enjoy fixing things and in joy in the happiness of others (especially when I fix their computer). I’ve worked in a lot of different areas including TV acting and have fronted a number of bands. I also enjoy boxing and played Roller Derby and I’ve taken up baseball, playing for Exeter Spitfires.

At Exeter I am a Desktop Support Technician on the Streatham Campus. My job is pretty diverse and no two days are ever the same. One day I may be dealing with a malware infection, another I may be completing hardware repairs (my personal favourite), other days I might be helping users to understand new software or get to grips with new systems or kitting out entire rooms with IT equipment. The most important thing, though, is that my job involves people. It involves patience and understanding and making sure that every user has the best experience possible and gets tailored support that suits their individual needs.

In addition to this, I am also a Mental Health First Aider, which means I am one of the first points of contact for people if they are distressed or suffering the effects of ill mental health and will sit and listen or talk to that person and offer signposting to professional support if needed.

On top of ADHD, I also suffer with fibromyalgia, which is very odd combination meaning that I have boundless energy but am also often exhausted and constantly in pain. Lots of research suggests that those with ADHD have a higher than average pain threshold, so whilst being an odd combination, I think the ADHD does help me to manage the day to day pain!

My career

Like many people with ADHD, I don't have one, steady career path but instead have a rather diverse work history. Initially, I trained in performing arts and was lucky enough to land a few jobs doing TV work as a background artist (extra) and some small parts. I found that this wasn't the career for me and I much prefer theatre because you have the excitement of "anything can go wrong" where with TV work, you just have to repeat the same thing over and over again, which can be pretty tedious.

When I left college, I felt pretty burnt out education wise so decided to go straight into work and not attend University. I worked in various office jobs whilst continuing to do TV work including telemarketing and general admin, then becoming a Learning Support Assistant at South Staffordshire College aged 21. Which meant that I got to sit in various IT lessons and learn whilst supporting the students.

I moved into Welfare to Work and Training. I worked as an employment advisor for much of that time, then an opportunity came along to work with 14-16 "NEETS". A high number of my students were diagnosed with ADHD, which is why mainstream education didn't suit them. It started to become apparent that I shared things in common with these students and it made me realise that I may have ADHD, so I went down the (long) route of diagnosis.


I moved to Exeter because I was in a long distance relationship with a woman (who is now my fiancée) down here. My manager asked me what sort of work I was applying for, I told her that I was looking for work similar to what I was doing. We had a very frank conversation about how that line of work was having a negative impact on my mental health (I suffered a mental health breakdown due to the stress of the job, which manifested when I was in the office) and how I should apply for work in IT because "who sorts out all of our IT problems in the office?" It was me.

Soon after the conversation, an opportunity came up at the University as a Desktop Support. I gathered a lot of strength and ticked the disability box on the application, as I realised that I need to be open and honest with employers, otherwise I will not get valuable support. I was shocked when I was granted an interview.

Since starting as a Desktop Support Technician, I have flourished. Being able to work with my hands and my brain at the same time helps to keep my ADHD managed. Unfortunately, there have been some issues, including falling short of promotion on a number of occasions because I struggled to really focus in interview and unlock answers that were locked away in my brain. Due to this, I decided to seek treatment and engaged with the adult ADHD service in Devon. They helped me to find the right medication for me and having my ADHD so well managed has meant that my work has improved (in particular, my admin) and I am currently on a secondment to Level 4 (Senior) Technician.


The biggest challenge has been the struggle for promotion. Whilst competition is rightly tough, I do feel that I was at a disadvantage because my thoughts were "not in order" which meant that I could miss or forget things, or not easily access good examples in interviews. I also struggled with some training, which had an exam at the end. Sitting in exam conditions and not being able to move around is very hard when you have ADHD.

There is also the challenge of people misunderstanding the medication that some of us take to manage ADHD, as these are often controlled stimulant drugs that would be class B without the proper prescription. Due to this, people can often say unhelpful things such as "are you really sure it is a good idea to take that?" "Aren't amphetamines really bad for you?" and suchlike. In reality, without the medication my brain is all over the place, sometimes I cannot access memories that are very recent and occasionally, it all becomes so overwhelming that I will have a meltdown. Many people still refer to meltdowns as "temper tantrums" and become very judgemental. This is extremely unhelpful.

My management and team are very supportive of me already and really work hard to understand the way that I work and to make sure that I have adjustments when needed. Having The Disability Network available is wonderful and the members of the network have been extremely welcoming, despite my worries about "not being disabled enough".

I think where staff training is concerned, it would benefit people like me to have the option to take exams or similar in a room away from others, where we are able to stand up and walk around if we need to, or even listen to music to aid concentration. I am aware that this is something that I can ask for, as a reasonable adjustment, but sometimes we do not want to have to ask for these things, for fear of feeling awkward or overly needy. It would be nice to be offered this option without having to ask.

I always felt like I was the odd one out. Always a bit of an outsider. I thought it was maybe because I was tall and gangly? Perhaps it was because I moved around quite a lot growing up? So I’ve spent my whole life analysing human behaviour to try and understand where I might fit in. I even went so far as to study Sociology and Anthropology at University to satisfy this special interest of mine!

I watched a Colleen Ballinger vlog in 2020, and I found the most life-changing information. ADHD is not about naughty boys in school being put on meth… it’s actually a dopamine regulation/sensitivity issue in the brain—the part that controls your reward centres. It’s the reason people with ADHD need constant mental stimulation, and we don’t always get to choose what that is. That’s why many people with ADHD self-medicate with coffee or energy drinks (a stimulant) because they find it actually calms the brain down by giving it what it needs. I had no idea that hyperactivity and fidgeting can manifest as smaller, less noticeable things like playing with hair, doodling, or skin picking, particularly in women and girls. I finally understood why it felt agonising—literally physically painful— to start mundane tasks, why I thrive under pressure and why I can melt down with simple life tasks.

I’ve literally modelled half my personality off every Manic Pixie Dream Girl on the telly. Two of my favourite successful ADHD women role models are Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation and Jessica Day from New Girl. It was completely mind-boggling to think that, after decades of thinking I was alone, I’m practically a walking stereotype of an ADHD woman and there are lots of us! It’s bittersweet. Finally, I have language and a community to express so many experiences in which I thought I was alone. Finally, I can get support in areas where I thought I was ‘just’ stupid or I ‘just’ needed to try a little harder.

I never knew that it was okay to view the majority of my ADHD traits as my greatest strengths. Like my unique perspectives, ideas, and contributions. My preference to work at different times of the day. Counterintuitively, my ability to hyperfocus for hours on end. The vast range of random skills and knowledge I have from the assorted 1000s of special interests on which I’ve hyper-fixated. My talent for building out process maps, automating systems and making clear and concise documentation around culture and ways of working. An intense sense of justice… Deep empathy for others who struggle or think differently… Being a very honest and authentic person… often to a fault! Not to mention awesome problem solving and coping skills like note-taking and organisation, developed from a life of auditory processing difficulty and memory loss.

That said, sometimes I feel like the neurotypical world can’t see these strengths because I’m often late to appointments. Or because I miss the details and less obvious social cues. Or because I come across as too blunt, loud or overenthusiastic. I’ve lost friends because they think I forget and lose things because I didn’t care enough about them. And I carry the guilt from the mistakes I’ve made from being too impulsive or distracted everyday, and obsess over ways to avoid doing it again in future.

There’s new research that shows how the effects of being told you’re not good enough your whole life are profound (unsurprisingly). Getting messages everyday that if you don’t try harder then you’ll ‘never live up to your potential’ is a near-universal experience for kids with ADHD. It’s going to take a long time to heal my self-esteem. Comorbidity with anxiety and depression is extremely high, and the symptoms can also hide and cause dismissal for an adult diagnosis. This is so common for people with untreated ADHD because of the stress and isolation caused by trying to manage these problems alone. I think the ‘anxiety’ I felt was actually a very rational response to avoid or cover up the negative traits and reactions listed above.

I used to joke to friends that I was ‘culturally autistic’ because I grew up in a household with an autistic dad and little brother, and figured that I’d just learnt a lot about the world from them growing up. We also learned that my older brother was diagnosed ADHD (Inattentive type) during my diagnosis journey. Meanwhile, my mixed/hyperactive type ADHD was written off as ‘chatterbox’ behaviour or being a ditzy hormonal teenager. For as long as it was possible to summon the dopamine for a last-minute essay turnaround, my school success masked what was happening in my mind (kids like this are sometimes referred to as ‘twice exceptional’). ADHD and autism are demonised and ridiculed in such a way that it seemed absurd that someone with my success and articulacy could ever have those diagnoses, and it makes me so angry to think about how obvious it was all along if the professionals in my life didn’t hold those negative stereotypes, and about how much pain I, and many other girls, could have avoided all along.

ADHD and autism are genetic and comorbid. Being out and proud about my ADHD diagnosis has had an impact in the same way that my brother’s diagnosis did for the men in our family. It’s given my mum a chance to reflect on how these traits may have affected her and a way to reframe the same challenges she’s also had to face in her life. I really hope we start moving in the direction of undoing some of the harms perpetrated by the sexist medical complex through sharing information and experiences in this way, even if it was difficult for us to mentally process to begin with. I hope I can help others by continuing to be open about my struggles.

I had to complete my University course part-time because of the problems I experienced with my studies. There was no consistency; I would either get 1st in a module or scrape a pass depending on the topic. I broke down constantly and, in the end, it took me six years because I hadn’t worked out the key details about how my brain functions. I’ve since learned, for example, that my brain doesn’t care for the importance of tasks; it runs on Interest, Challenge, Novelty, and Urgency (ICNU). I’ve been able to teach neurodiversity techniques like this to my brother, who is now whizzing through his course!

I believe that we need a diversity of neurotypes in our teams, and that ADHDers are fantastic wildcard actors in the office. I love having a job where every day is different; I have to learn continuously, and I get to interact with new people and be my true self all day long. With help, I’ve turned my struggles into superpowers.

I’ve been so blessed to grow up with incredible role models in my family who taught me from an early age that being different is a strength. I truly don’t believe anyone is stupid or lazy—we just haven’t all worked out what makes us tick yet. I’d love you to take away from this post this understanding that no one is without struggle, but that doesn’t make them any less worthy of love, respect and understanding.

If any of this resonated with you personally, I really recommend you take a second look at the NHS Guidance on the DSM-5 for ADHD and autism and have a peek at the resources below:

The Difference Between Inattentive and Hyperactive Type ADHD - NHS

ADHD in Women and Girls – Psychiatry UK

ADHD and Anxiety, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria - Additude

Kids with ADHD Get 20,000 More Negative Critisisms by Age 10. - Additude

The ICNU Framework: A New Way To Look At ADHD – The Mighty

Are you a wildcard person? –

Twice-Exceptional, Gifted & Talented Kids With Disabilities

The Social Model of Disability

Identity first languge in the Autistic community

Famous people with ADHD

My Favourite IG - @iampayingattention

My Favourite YT – How to ADHD

Special thanks to my band of merry weirdos, my brothers, my Mum and Mick, Dad, and chosen family Louis and Dawn.

I’m a 31 year old non-binary, transfeminine person. I’m also biracial with a white English father and a Singaporean mother. When it comes to neurodivergence, I’m autistic, I have OCD and ADHD. To try and round things up, I’m also bisexual. I’ve kind of seen my identity as being defined by the 3 Bi’s, with the order of recognition being Biracial, then Bisexual and now finally, non-Binary.

I was born in Bristol, but I moved to Singapore when I was two and spent my childhood there, which I see as the place where I grew up. I moved to England when I was 12 and even though I’ve now lived here longer, I still see Singapore as my home. I think this is partly because moving to England was a massive upheaval and even after that, me and my family never stayed in any English city for longer than ten years, so no place here has ever felt like a true home.

I feel that that sense of displacement in an unfamiliar, frequently hostile country and the inevitable racism I experienced helped to formulate my perception of the importance of identity, which only strengthened once I came to terms with my own sexuality, and finally gender.

I was lucky to attend an international school in Singapore that wasn’t dictated by an insular and problematic Singaporean curriculum. Topics such as gender and sexuality were talked about more openly than they would have been in the UK at the same time when section 28 was still in effect. Singapore has its own similar problems with bigotry and laws that still exist that are designed to target queer people and I wouldn’t have gotten the same exposure to vital topics if I had attended a public state run school. I feel that this early experience with a more open approach to education instilled an early understanding of how important diversity was when it comes to teaching tolerance and understanding of anything queer and neurodivergent in society.

I currently work for a company called Full Scale Dynamics Limited, which is a University of Exeter spin-off company that works within the realm of structural consultancy. My role is heavily IT oriented but also involves working as a technician to help out with site tests designed to measure vibration control, structural monitoring and much more. I also do volunteer work as a coordinator for the University of Exeter LGBTQ+ Staff Network.


The biggest factor of my identity that influenced my career is definitely my neurodivergence. I feel that my own skewed perception of how autistic people should be made me see myself as only suitable for jobs that involved lots of isolation and rote work. One of my older catering jobs involved working by myself in a kitchen for extremely long hours with barely any interaction. I was miserable from the isolation, the role itself, and was frequently unapproachable to others as a result. This would reinforce the perception of autistic/neurodivergent people like me as awkward, unfriendly people.

I also suffered bullying as a result of my demeanour which would frequently make me feel miserable that I wasn’t like others in terms of personality. Whenever people did get a chance to talk to me however, they would frequently note how good at conversation and just how easy to get along with I was, often expressing surprise. I felt pigeonholed by my neurodivergence and saw jobs like this as being the best choice, even though I clearly loved working with others and talking to people.

I’ve had difficulty relating to others in my previous jobs due to the lack of diversity, particularly my old catering job which was almost exclusively white. Being Asian, neurodivergent and bisexual only made me feel more isolated and miserable. This only further instilled my recognition of the importance of making people like me visible to others. My current job marked the period in my life where I could properly face the reality that I’m trans. This is mainly because my current co-workers include trans people and a wide variety of different ethnicities.

I feel that my current volunteering work as a coordinator for the University of Exeter LGBTQ+ Staff Network has really highlighted this aspect of my personality. I relish the coordinating work as it involves lots of in-person social work which gives me a chance to talk with and help others.

What could the University do to improve working life for people with a similar background to you?

The University of Exeter could do the simplest and yet, most valuable of gestures which is platforming and highlighting people like me so that we are more visible. This would normalise our presence and make it clear that defining society in terms of ‘normal/abnormal’ would only serve to other people like us.

It would be good to stop uncritically platforming people with harmful views on people like us. Doing so feeds into the perception that our existence, especially trans people’s, is just one side of a debate with equal footing that needs to be offset with input from individuals who frequently don’t see us as deserving of the same rights, or even happiness.

Uncritically platforming such people also fails to take into account the role that power and privilege plays into who is able to be afforded the biggest platforms in the first place. Greater power leads to larger voices that can drown out our own, and any pushback, no matter how small is seen as being of equal force to the uninformed. Recognising and supporting intersectional efforts for raising awareness and aid is another aspect, as the struggles of people like us overlap with the struggles of other groups. This can help to combat the narrative perpetuated by misinformed people and groups that recognising and providing aid to one group will come at the cost of other marginalised groups, as is frequently seen with the narrative that trans femme people must endure about our bathroom rights coming at the expense of cis women’s safety.

The best thing that colleagues could do is recognise the ways in which their lives differ from our own and the associated advantages and disadvantages. Recognising where your own power and privilege affords you advantages that are so heavily normalised that you don’t have to even think about it. This can open the door to recognising areas which are constant challenges for others, such as using the toilet as a trans person, accessibility issues when you’re not able bodied, or socialising in expected ways when your neurodivergence can interfere with such expectations.

Being open to visibility is crucial. This is personally extremely important and how I strive to live now. Visibility was what allowed me to recognise that I was trans due to the efforts of a trans co-worker who was simply living her life. The simple act of existing allowed me to normalise the lives of trans people and gave me courage to recognise it in myself as something that wasn’t abnormal.

I've been based in Exeter for a little over five years now, having arrived as a fresh-faced PhD student in 2016. Several years (and one doctorate) later, I'm still here, and am still working at the University. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing in a brass band and building scale models, which may go some way towards helping you guess that I'm also autistic. 

I'm based across two Departments at the University - History and MLC (Modern Languages and Cultures). My official job title is 'Lecturer in Medieval Studies', a rather grand way of saying that I think, write, and teach about the world between around 500 and around 1500. During the academic year, most of my time is spent on the last of these three tasks, as I teach classes on topics ranging from medieval gender and sexuality through to the uses of the French language in medieval England. 

I received a diagnosis of autism very late: specifically, around 24 hours before I was due to graduate from my undergraduate degree. The diagnosis provided an explanation for why I'd had difficulties for so long in certain areas, from 'fitting in' with others to managing my time effectively, and while it certainly doesn't act as an excuse nowadays, it also provides me with a framework that's helped me to understand myself better. It took me several years from being diagnosed with autism for me to start talking openly about it, after a few difficult experiences during the initial few months of my PhD. Once I'd begun to discuss being autistic more openly, I found myself becoming increasingly more comfortable in myself, and started 'leaning in' to parts of my personality that I'd previously tried to hide. 

Since then, I've been fortunate to receive nothing but support from colleagues at the University, but this doesn't mean that it's all been plain sailing. Teaching requires a great deal of energy, and when you're also processing consciously things that other people might do instinctively - body language, tone of voice, and so on - it can be difficult to pace oneself adequately to remain productive throughout the day. Being honest with yourself (and others) helps immensely, as does having somewhere quiet to go and sit (whether that's a common room or an office).